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Through the lens of Steve Biro

Local nature photographer finds beauty across Windsor–Essex
Author: Devan Mighton
Photographer: Syx Langemann
2 years ago
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Patience. It took patience to get here.

At the crack of dawn, Steve Biro sets out on the snowy sideroads south of East Windsor. Shaking cobwebs from his head, taking sips of bitter coffee, he cruises along with his eyes peeled – through foggy windows – on the snow-encrusted treelines for an elusive soul.

Finally, he spots his quarry just inside a field. He pulls over and sneaks down the ditch to a fencepost for a better view – shivering as hints of melting snow slide down his heels inside his boots.

He quietly sets up his camera and waits.

He may have sat and watched for seconds or hours – time melds together. A small mouse dashes in front of him – leaving the safety of the nest below the snow, running an errand.

Biro hears a rush of wind and primes his focus, as a magnificent raptor glides down to make its kill. A snowy owl has made its breakfast, and for Biro, his patience has paid off with another remarkable image to share.

“Much of my knowledge is self-taught,” admits Biro. “I have taken some classes. It started to evolve from seascapes and landscapes, that was my original passion. I used to run down to the riverfront, about two-or-three years straight, 250 days of the year, taking pictures. I found it fascinating that I could go down there and get a different image every day.”

Steve Biro is an avid hiker and adventurer turned nature photographer.

“I started into photography as a way to capture nature when I was hiking,” he explains. “I wanted to be able to capture what I was seeing. It was more for myself, at the time, because I like going through images of vacations and hikes and places I’ve been because it helps bring back fond memories of my trips. I find it’s much easier for me to recall just from the act of taking pictures.”

Biro says that from 2009 until 2012 were his formative years as a photographer. He posted images to social media of his travels around the world and people started to take notice.

“About five years ago, I started to turn more to nature and wildlife photography,” says Biro. “I found that people really seemed to enjoy seeing birds and animals in pictures. People were telling me it was nice to see things they normally wouldn’t see. That drove me to take more nature images and it has progressed from there.”

A few years ago, Biro started venturing to the Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Victoria, near Port Dover – this is where he met Bruce the Bald Eagle. Frozen in stunning symmetry, skimming the surface of the water with his wings spread like St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, Biro caught Bruce in his majestic glory.

“After the image went viral, a lot of people started to follow me on social media,” Biro recalls. “They, obviously, had a love for seeing images of animals and eagles. That reinforced my desire to capture nature.”

On top of his job with Ford, Biro figures he photographs 20-30 hours per week.

“I really enjoy being in nature,” he professes. “It’s not just about photography for me. There’s something peaceful about being in nature, watching it, learning about it – you really learn a lot about wildlife when you’re watching birds and animals in action.”

“You can walk around Ojibway Park and focus on nature and take your mind off the harshness of life. That aspect is very attractive to me. I find that during tougher times, nature brings you back in focus and always makes you feel a little better.”

In addition to Bruce, Biro is well-known for his gorgeous deer and owl photography, as well as his shots of eagles and hawks. He frequents Ojibway Park, Spring Garden, East Windsor, the Windsor Riverfront, Holiday Beach, and is often touring the county in search of his next shot.

“Ojibway is really nice in the cooler months,” he explains. “I find you can see deer as well as smaller songbirds. Another peaceful, fun part of Ojibway is that if you go in there with birdseed, a lot of the smaller songbirds will land on your hand – and they’re usually fed with birdseed anyways, so you’re not doing any harm there. Holding a bird in your hand, a lot of people enjoy it – especially children.

“One of my favourite spots, from spring until fall, is Malden Park. Malden Park has the ponds, and you can get some really nice images of birds that you won’t see elsewhere – like green herons, blue herons, kingfishers, even ospreys sometimes come hunt in the pond – which is quite nice.”

Nature photography is an exercise in patience. Biro admits that even once in position, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to five hours to get the right shot. Additionally, in the case of photographing snowy owls, it can take even longer to find one to shoot.

“It’s very common for me to go out driving for three to six hours if I’m out looking for snowy owls, which are much rarer to spot,” states Biro. “I only first saw them several years ago myself, and I do spend a long time looking for them.”

Biro explains that what drives him to keep searching for the next great shot is his need to immerse himself in nature, which helps him to find peace, and his insatiable need to find an image that is unique.

“I just went to Port Stanley to photograph these amazing waves that were being churned up by 100 kilometer-per-hour winds last weekend,” he says. “On that day, I took over 14,000 images. I went through and tried to find something unique to post other than a picture of just an ordinary wave. I just posted a wave that looks like a lion coming out of the water. I’m always driven to find something unique – I guess that is a big part of what makes me get out there.”

However, Biro admits that his motivations for photography have changed over the years.

“Something happened along the way – I found that my images bring some people great joy,” admits Biro. “I know some people will never see the things that I am very fortunate to see in my travels. I’ve been to many countries, I’ve been all over the world, and when it brings people joy, it brings me joy.”

To see Steve Biro’s latest work, please visit www.SteveBiroPhotography.com or follow him on Instagram at @stevebiro or on Facebook.

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